Monday, September 27, 2010

Nest Boxes - the EGG-speriment!

Clean and tidy nest boxes!  That's what I like to see each and every morning.  If the hens soil or flatten out their paper shreds, I change the 'sheets' and fluff the bedding...fresh daily, for their laying pleasure!
Shredded Eggs!
Not long ago, we had Critter Sitters help out for a weekend while hubby and I were out of town for a weekend.  One of their assignments was to replace the paper shreds each morning for the hens.  For this chore, I have "Chore Gloves", and a plastic cat litter scoop.  The gloves are for rolling up the bedding; the litter scoop is for raking the pine shavings and sifting the "poultry pudding" out from the salvageable bedding.  Truth be told, I hated to ask them to do this little bit of dirty work (I like to make things as easy and simple as possible for the critter sitters), but it's a necessary and unavoidable part of coop care.
Pickin' and Grinnin - Happy Hens!
Today I came up with an idea that I'm hoping will work to simplify coop keeping even more.  Hens LOVE to lay eggs where other hens have laid.  My girls fight over who will get the "preferred nest box" first, even to the point of hassling a hen who has begun to lay, to "egg her on", getting her to vacate that preferred spot so the others can have a chance to quick settle in!  After all eggs have been deposited for the day, evening arrives, and it seems certain SOMEONES like to sleep in a couple nest boxes rather than roost on their rails!  They do NOT deposit eggs!  In the morning I find chicken poo!  I would like this to cease.  Immediately, if not sooner!
Yummy eggs, straight from the nest box
In each nest box I nestled a ceramic egg into the fresh shreds.  These eggs are the very same that I use to encourage new pullets to lay in the boxes and not on the floor of their hen house.  The color, weight, texture, and size of the ceramic eggs are so much the same as a real egg that I mark the faux eggs with a large purple X to be able to tell the difference myself!  After all, my egg customers might not be too understanding if they buy eggs that are not edible!  It might be funny the FIRST time, but I would not want to make that error repeatedly!

Hopefully I'll have something successful to report soon!

Happy Egging -
the ChickenWrangler


Cindy said...

We have always place a few "eggs" in the areas we want them to lay. My Mema even use to take a few feathers that had been dropped and placed them in the nest for the layers. I guess that theory was by scent..they would follow..It worked.
she also had a two acre lake..and Geese and ducks.She hated walking around the lake looking for she built her own nest..out of old crates and nesting worked everytime. No more long jaunts around the lake..they laid at the top of the lake near the house!!

Cindy Rick-Rack and Gingham

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Good Morning Sweetie...
How wonderful this post is. I had no idea. Imagine fighting and pushing and shoving. Who would have thought? (Just like a BIG sale that everybody wants to get in to buy.) And you can move them around by using the fake eggs. Girl there is so much to being a Chicken Wrangler, I think sadly I will have to live this life through you sweetie.

I love their little faces at the gate. That's it I am telling Mom, now where has she gone off to? I love it sweetie.

I hope you have a beautiful Monday. I think of you every day and can't wait to see what is going on at the Coop. Love ya girl, Sherry

varunner said...

That's what we use the golf balls for. The only thing is it seems like it might encourage broodiness, so if I notice a hen sitting on one more than a day or so, I have to sneak it away from her. Otherwise she'll brood that golf ball for weeks...

Chatty Crone said...

You are always thinking and inventing new things. You amaze me. sandie

Chook said...

OMG! I have never seen such spanking clean quarters for a chookie.What very lucky,spoilt chooks you have!Those eggs look fantastic too...Can you freight me a dozen or so please..:)

Angela said...

I'm sure your hens are better cared for than any of the hens around where I live! That is a good idea with the fake eggs.

Have a Great Day!

Verde Farm said...

I so admire your clean digs. You are a role model for us chicken wranglers in training :)
Amy at Verde Farm

Tales From My Empty Nest said...

Who would have ever thought there was so much involved in getting hens to lay eggs. That was such an interesting post. I would love to live somewhere that I could have hens and have my own eggs. I always loved my Grandmother's chickens when I was a little girl. I loved gathering the eggs. Great that there are Critter Sitters, so you can get away from your "girls". Love & blessings from NC!